Chickens Come Home to Roost

Perhaps some of you recall our post on project commitment. We have a continuation of that story now that is revealing.  In that post we saw how not communicating clearly about actions that could possibly happen or actions that were not even remotely possible can put our project at risk.  In that post, we show an example of appeasement to keep the peace over being forthright and articulating our schedule needs.  We now show how that course of action manifests later in the project.

A project manager had a team working toward a tight schedule, even up to the week before the team made this tight schedule assertion. Now, just hours before the delivery, the project team informs the project manager that they will not make the delivery date, and fall back on “it was a tight schedule”.  Upon closer inspection, we see that it was not a tight schedule – but an impossible schedule.

The project manager and the executives counting on the project are understandably livid.  However, this organization appears to sanction the use of indirect speech and couching of words (don’t rock the boat) we would not want conflict.  If the management does not believe that conflict can be a good thing and harness it appropriately, we will see more of these events. Our people should not be afraid to deliver the news – tell the truth as they see it with supporting facts.  I have had a discussion with a Vice President on this topic.  He told me the unwillingness to deliver or accept the bad news is like a a cancer that can kill a company.  I see that he is correct.

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